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I like curious people

I like curious people

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There are lots of kinds of people in this world. I like curious people the most. I find them to be more interesting and pleasant to be with than people who already know everything. Believing that there is more to learn, cultivates a humility that is hard to dislike. There is no end to the diversity among curious people. They live on every continent, represent every sector of society, they are rich, poor and are from every race and religion.

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A month ago, we arrived in Fiji. After a ten-hour flight, we took a two-hour taxi from Nadi to Rakiraki. Our driver was an Indian man named Jai who’d lived in Fiji his whole life. He was a well-spoken guide, and quickly gave us the lay of the land – pointing out beautiful views and educating us on the culture of his homeland.

Jai told us that, driving a taxi in Fiji gave him the opportunity to meet people from all kinds of different places. Even though he had never left this country, he felt as though he had seen the entire world. He asked us questions about our family; where we came from, where we were going and what our life was like in Nashville.

We learned about Jai’s family, his Indian heritage and how his grandparents immigrated. Jai’s  wife works at the garment factory and next year their oldest son will attend university to study civil engineering. It’s wedding season in Fiji and for the next few months, there will be traditional celebrations that last several day. We learned about all the different kinds of food that they make for weddings, including a curry made with unripe mangos.

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Being curious is a mutually beneficial activity. When you express interest in someone’s life, you usually learn something that you wouldn’t otherwise know. It makes people feel more at ease when you genuinely want to know about who they are. Gathering bits of other people’s experience and sharing bits of you own, is an important part of the human experience.

Curiosity might be the most strategic character trait a person can cultivate. Learning about different kinds of people, develops your brain, but also your capacity for relationships. Understanding how different someone else’s life has been is a humbling, eye-opening experience. It can challenge our paradigm and the way we think about the world.

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Our first night in Fiji, we hired a woman named Rozy to cook a meal at the house we were renting. She made samosa with rice, okra curry, fried vegetable fritter, dhal soup, salad and tamarind chutney. Our son Max, is an eager cook and made much of the meal with her. Rozy was happy to have his help in the kitchen and Max learned a lot about authentic Indian cuisine. A few days later I found myself in the kitchen with a bowl full of unripe mangos. Remembering what Jai told me – I sliced them up and made a delicious mango curry for lunch.

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Being in Fiji was a gift. I don’t think I have ever had a more relaxing vacation. Our kids were just the right age to enjoy things without too much parental intervention. I spent a large majority of my time napping on the hammock bed, situation between the pool and the ocean.

I would like to think that, no matter where we go in this world, we can leave with more than pretty photos and a happy family memories. It a big, beautiful world out there - I want to be a curious about it.

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